When was the last time you had a good, hard look at your content marketing strategy?
A great plan helps you and your marketing team to make your business goals a reality. It provides focus and direction to your team’s content marketing efforts, campaigns, blog articles and so on..
However, at Great Scott! we often see companies struggle to create their own plan. Almost one in four companies have no content marketing strategy in place. These companies are often under pressure by their business’ reality. Or they don’t really see the forest for the trees anymore. After all, how can you stay on top of all the opportunities the digital marketing landscape provides?
Despite these challenges, you really have to create a content marketing strategy and review it at least once a year. Without this strategy, things can get messy. You will have a hard time securing the budget you need to launch new projects or hire new skills. If you have no plan, you will have no focus and leave content marketing’s true potential on the table.
The 5 key questions you need to answer
In order to help you, we’ve put together a list of 5 key questions. These questions will help you to get started as they are the backbone of any content marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter if you’re in B2B or B2C, or if you’re focussing on content marketing in general or just on video marketing. Answering these 5 key questions will help to get you going:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What are you going to tell them?
- What do you want them to do
- When & how are you going to tell them that?
Keep in mind that content marketing strategies exist in all sizes and shapes. Depending on your industry, your business goals, and company structure your needs might be different. These 5 steps are only the beginning.
We also created the Content Marketing Strategy Framework. A 40+ pages document that contains our entire strategic approach. In this framework, we share all the steps – including the 5 key questions – you need to take in order to create a high-performing content marketing strategy.
1. What are you trying to achieve?
If you don’t know your destination, how will you plan your route?
Everything in marketing starts with clear goals. Without knowing what your goals are, you can’t improve your content marketing ROI. You won’t know if your plan is successful if you don’t know what success looks like. So always ask yourself: “What am I trying to accomplish?”.
The answer to that question should be SMART:
- Specific: is your detailed enough?
- Measurable: can you measure the goal?
- Attainable: is it a realistic goal, given the situation you’re currently in?
- Relevant: does it contribute to your business goals?
- Time-bound: is there a specific timeframe to reach your goal?
SMART goals help you to make the right decisions. Every idea or initiative that doesn’t contribute directly to your goals shouldn’t be a part of your content marketing plan. In our Content Marketing Strategy Framework, we share detailed examples and additional advice on how to set the right content marketing goals. You can download it for free, and use it as your content marketing strategy template.
2. Who are you trying to reach?
In the end, you’re trying to sell your target audience a particular product or service. Therefore, it’s important to understand how your audience buys these type of products/services. You have to understand how they make decisions.
In order to do that, you’ll have to do market research. Talk to your audience, talk to your sales team who regularly meet potential new customers. If you really want to make a difference, you have to go beyond the traditional demographic information such as age, gender, and income. It is way more important to include psychographic information such as pain points, goals, and motivations. This information defines their decision-making process. It’s the information you need to create relevant content.
At Great Scott!, we use the buyer persona model to structure all this information. In our Content Marketing Strategy Framework, you can learn more and see a real example of a buyer persona.
3. What are you going to tell them?
After completing the first 2 steps, you have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish and who you’re trying to reach. Now it’s time to focus on your story. What are you going to tell your audience?
At this point, we’re referring to specific content ideas, blog articles, or social media ideas. Your story is an additional layer on top of that. It ties all your content marketing efforts together. It’s the thing you want your target audience to remember after they close their browsers or put their smartphones away. It’s your unique story. The story that sets you apart from your competition.
4. What do you want them to do?
A lot of companies publish open-ended content. They create the best blog article the world has ever seen… and then nothing happens. They don’t include a clear call to action. They have no conversion point in place, that converts those blog readers into marketing or even sales qualified leads.
In your content marketing strategy, you have to brainstorm these conversion points. They come in all sizes and shapes:
- eBooks & white papers
- Online courses
If you want to reach your goals, it’s important that your conversion point fits your target audience and your story. Make sure it solves a challenge your audience is facing and make sure it’s credible and matches your story.
5. When & how are you going to tell them that?
The final question focusses on how to get your story and your conversion point(s) out there. How are you going to reach your target audience? Which channels are you going to use? How often will you post content on each channel? Will you advertise on these channels? Or focus on organic reach?
This final question is also about the specific content deliverables you need. The blog articles, video content, emails, and social media posts to bring your story to life.
You already get the picture, this is the never-ending part of content marketing. At Great Scott!, we developed an ongoing, quarterly routine to boost your efficiency. You can read about this routine if you download our free Content Marketing Strategy Framework. We explain in detail how you can create the right content and keep the momentum going. This routine will help you to actually realize your content marketing strategy.
Answering these 5 key questions help you to get started with your content marketing strategy. If you’re lost or get stuck along the way, we’re here to help. If these 5 questions only result in more questions, feel free to contact Great Scott!.
And don’t forget to download your free copy of our Content Marketing Strategy Framework. It contains more details, hands-on tips & tricks, and examples to get you started.
Don’t forget, true content marketing success doesn’t happen overnight. To truly deliver what your audience wants and needs, you’ll likely have to test different ideas, channels, and formats, measure their success and adapt your plan as you go.